Most helpful positive review
A Walk Through Cosmology
on December 5, 2003
Sir Martin Rees earned his degrees in mathematics and astronomy at the University of Cambridge. Currently he is a professor of astronomy and cosmology and was formerly director of the Institute of Astronomy. He sometimes writes articles for Scientific American and New Scientist magazines.
In this book, Before the Beginning, Dr. Rees touches on many topics of cosmology, established theories and highly speculative subjects such as dark matter, multiverse, and superstring theory, . The book , in my opinion, is not watered-down science as one of the reviewers complains. In his introduction, Dr. Rees informs the reader that he will abstain from using references to deity(s) that lead to more copies being sold and complicated physical formulas that decrease profits. One complaint I have is that the book has no glossary section. Although Rees does describe things like quasars, lambda, and omega, white dwarfs, steady-state theory some readers may not be satisfied with the depth of definitions given within the text.
Anyone who picks up this book must read Chapter 12 "Toward Infinity: The Far Future" in which Rees explains the most likely fate of the Solar System. "In about 5 billion years the Sun will die, swelling up into a red giant, engulfing the inner planets, and vaporizing all life on Earth; it will the settle down as a slowly fading white dwarf. At about the same time the Andromeda Galaxy , already falling toward us, will merge with our own Milky Way." He also speculates as to what would happen if the universe expands forever or collapses according the Big Crunch Theory. How life will have to adopt to this new environment...
Overall, the book is a great read for an amateur interested in cosmology. However, those with no prior experience may become stressed understanding some of the concepts laid out in the book.